PESHAWAR: The achieves and libraries directorate is working for the establishment of public libraries in 12 districts, including Upper Chitral, with the allocation of Rs100 million in the current budget for it.
Under the plan, the province would have one library each in Upper Chitral and other districts in future.
Lower Chitral has already one municipal library but it is losing charm due to fading interest of people in reading books and other materials.
Officials said the directorate was also working on a separate project to set up seven libraries in tribal districts.
Currently, there are public libraries in 18 districts and they included the Rehman Baba Library in Peshawar and Ghazi Tehsil Library in Haripur.
Deputy director at the archives and libraries directorate Dr Mohammad Ashfaq said public libraries were being established in Upper Chitral, Battagram, Hangu, Karak, Kolai-Palas, Lower and Upper Kohistan, Malakand, Shangla, Tank, Torghar and Upper Dir districts.
Dr Ashfaq said after the completion of those projects, the province’s all districts would have a library in their respective headquarters.
“The department will later move to set up libraries at tehsil level across the province,” he said.
The official, however, said in future, most libraries would be made information resource and research centres and would be linked with the online library of the Higher Education Commission and other sources of information.
He said the Shuhada-i-Army Public School Library, the largest in the province, was first setup as the Central Record Office in 1946.
Dr Ashfaq said the aim of setting up at the CRO, which would have copies of documents from Delhi to facilitate the people.
The CRO was set up in the Victoria Memorial Hall now Peshawar Museum on the recommendation of Indian Historical and Record Commission.
The Central Record Office was set up for the concentration and preservation of official records, advancement of historical research in the province and restoration of the province’s records transferred to the Imperial Record Department, Delhi.
Prof SM Jaffar, its first custodian, was sent to Delhi to get the province’s official records lying with the Imperial Record Department, India.
The record shifting was completed in July 1947. The library was shifted to its current location in 1992.
The official said in the second phase, libraries were set up in Swat and Akora Khattak, while the Rehman Baba Library was put up in Peshawar.
He said district libraries were established in Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, Chitral and Haripur in 1994, while the establishment of libraries in Charsadda, Swabi, Buner, Mansehra and Ghazi tehsil of Haripur came in the third phase.
The Peshawar Public Library, which was recently renamed Shuhada-i-APS Public Library, is one of the largest public library of the province with a collection of more than 140,000 books on different subjects. It offers services all through the week, including Saturdays and Sundays. Library in Upper Chitral.